South Dakota Chamber Announces 2023 Governor’s Giant Vision Winners

Posted on: April 27, 2023   |   Categories: Announcements, News & Updates
2023 Governor's Giant Vision Competition

Photo: (left) first-place $20,000 business winners Elliott Zimmer, Governor Kristi Noem, and David Zimmer of My Parts Pro LLC; (right) Governor Kristi Noem with first-place $5,000 student competition winner John Barbour, a student at South Dakota Mines, of CounSil.

As host of the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry event Chair Brad Wheeler, President of Wheeler Manufacturing, announced the winners of the 2023 business and student business competitions.

After a preliminary judging process that reduced the field of applicants to those selected as qualifiers for 2023, the competition concluded with final judging activities Tuesday, April 25, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. The awards were presented during the GOED Conference luncheon program, held in conjunction with Giant Vision. Winners of the two competitions were announced by South Dakota Chamber President David Owen, with Governor Kristi Noem congratulating the honorees.

2023 marks the nineteenth year of the Giant Vision Business Competition. The following winners were selected as this year’s startup standouts.

Business/Open Competition

  • This year’s first-place $20,000 winner was My Parts Pro LLC (Cloud-based software solution providing a range of features, including picking prioritization, automated order tracking, real-time updates on delivery status, and optimized delivery routes), Elliott Zimmer and David Zimmer, Sioux Falls.
  • In second place, winning $10,000, was CellField Technologies LLC (Contract research organization utilizing microphysiological system (MPS) to provide services to pharmaceutical companies, decreasing drug development costs and dependence on animal models), Scott Wood and Hosein Mirazi, Rapid City
  • In third place, winning $5,000, was Straight Up Care LLC (Web-based platform for Peer Specialists (PS) that features a training course, and matching algorithm to bring new PS to the job market, reducing the nationwide care burden and improving addiction and mental health client outcomes), Melissa Dittberner and Jonathan Lewis, Volin
  • Two companies tied for fourth place, winning $2,500 each. Advanced Radiation Technology & Solutions LLC (Cloud-based platform for Monti Carlo simulations of radiation interactions with matter, allowing users to build, visualize, and share models of specific objects and environments without any coding experience), Jing Liu and Chao Zhang, Vermillion; and Latitude-Ag LLC (Unique system to more efficiently and effectively clean out agricultural sprayers, reducing operator exposure to chemicals, and eliminating wasted chemicals), Ladd McCluskey, Humboldt
  • In sixth place, receiving $1,000, BioBest (Minimally invasive, viable, bioinspired ventilation systems for scrubbing effectively the airborne pollutants and toxic fumes from mine ventilation air), Cody Allen and Venkataramana Gadhamshetty, Rapid City
  • Competitors placing out of the prize money receive a $500 stipend to assist with the cost of participating.

The Giant Vision Competition is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, located in Pierre. SD Chamber President David Owen stated, “The goal of this program is to encourage people to explore being a business owner and to create an exciting future while also expanding South Dakota’s economy. We have worked hard to produce an event that will benefit all of the competitors. While the prize money will help the finalists, the contacts made and rigor required to be a qualifier will help all to advance their business ideas.”

Student Business Competition

2023 was the seventeenth year of the college student competition. Entries were received from across South Dakota. Following a thorough review of the original applications, ten finalists were selected to compete and the winners of the Competition are: 

  • Taking first place in the student competition, winning $5,000, was CounSil (Web-based software solution that guarantees the efficiency and effectiveness of the funding and purchasing processes in the military), John Barbour, South Dakota Mines
  • In second place, winning $4,000, was eqUTI (Urinary tract infection prevention in women), Grace Kramer, Northern State University
  • Inn third place, winning 3,000, Vizion UAS (Next-generation precision agricultural services to aid farming efficiency), Zackery Holloway, Gerald Waterhouse, Devin Filter and Micah Healy, South Dakota Mines
  • In fourth place, winning $2,000, was Bio-Navitas (Production of renewable and sustainable graphitized carbon products from corn stover to be used as electrode material for supercapacitors),Bharathkiran Maddipudi and Khang Huynh, South Dakota Mines
  • In fifth place, winning $1,000, was Score-Score (Combines a social media platform with a robust music database. The platform enables band directors to catalog and track pieces they are interested in, with its recommendation engine providing personalized suggestions), Chami Senarath, Haakon Anderson, Christian Olson and Haley Armstrong, South Dakota Mines
  • Competitors placing out of the prize money receive a $500 stipend to assist with the cost of participating.

About the Competitions

The Governor’s Giant Vision Business and Student Business competitions were established to help citizens realize that South Dakota is the very best place to start a successful business. The program was designed as an opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete for seed money and a chance to achieve their dream. This South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry program is chaired by Brad Wheeler, Wheeler Manufacturing of Lemmon. Wheeler was an original founder of the competition and is a past chair of the South Dakota Chamber Board of Directors.

Giant Vision is a program of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce & Industry, made possible by financial support for prize money from Governor Noem’s Office of Economic Development. These funds are matched by the following businesses to generate additional prize money and funds necessary to run the event. (No public funds are used to run the competition.) 2023 marks the 19th year of the Giant Vision business competition and the 17th year of a college student competition.